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The Elias Lindholm trade should only be the start for Craig Conroy as trade deadline approaches

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
16 days ago
There have been times over the course of this season when Calgary Flames general manager Craig Conroy has been extremely quiet, and his intentions with this roster have been relatively unknown. When the team was losing lots of games toward the beginning of the season, it felt as if there was no other option for him than to sell. However, as the team started to bounce back and win games at a decent clip, the outlook for Flames fans became a bit more cloudy.
But, any suspicions that Conroy wouldn’t be willing to sell were quieted when he moved Elias Lindholm to the Vancouver Canucks for Andrei Kuzmenko, Hunter Brzustewicz, Joni Jurmo, a 2024 first-round pick, and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick.
There were rumours all day that something might be going down, and as the night was winding down, the deal was finalized.
The overall reception of the trade was good from the Flames side of it. For a player in Lindholm, who did not and still does not have an extension in place and was, relatively speaking, playing toward the bottom of the barrel of his career numbers, it’s hard to argue that Conroy didn’t get a more-than-stellar return.
That being said, as much as this trade looks good for the Flames now and for the team’s future, it should not be the last move for Conroy and his team to make (and I highly doubt it will be).
There are still some important names within the Flames lineup that the record needs to be set straight on, including the two defencemen, Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin, as well as goaltender Jacob Markstrom.
Tanev, out of those three, seems the most likely to be moved, as the Flames just brought in Brayden Pachal, a 24-year-old right-handed defenceman with solid two-way abilities but is someone who will more likely help you out defensively than another area of the game. And as for Hanifin, we still have not received an answer on what his future is with the team. Does he want to go somewhere else? Does he want an extension? If he doesn’t offer up an answer to either of those questions, it would be in Conroy’s best interest to start shopping him before the trade deadline.
Markstrom is certainly the least likely to be moved out of those three names, both with the impact he has on the team’s ability to win games night in and night out, but also due to contract restraints. Nonetheless, as Conroy said on FlamesNation’s Barn Burner podcast, he is open to anything at this point.
The Lindholm trade was a fantastic start for the new Flames general manager, and considering the kind of returns he has seen from the Tyler Toffoli trade, Nikita Zadorov trade, and this one with Lindholm, it’s hard not to be optimistic about what Conroy has planned. However, it’s also worth mentioning that this should not be the end for a team that is, realistically, out of the playoff picture and could do well by adding even more assets and more draft capital.

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